ipad’s plot to destroy newspapers

Posted on January 16, 2011


yes, its dramatic – but it really is possible. by apple insisting that there will be no more free newspapers via the ipad it will achieve two things:
1. it will effectively control 30% of all subscription revenues that they achieve
2. it will own the billing relationship between the consumer and the newspaper and thus the data
personally, i wouldnt be ecstatic to lose the billing relationship and details of my subscribers, especially as a media business that is highly valuable.  the 30% cost might be less of an issue when one looks at distribution costs in the real world, but it would still hanckle me as people are buying th device because it provides access to those media.
the article belows discusses murdoch’s involvement. while i am sure that Murdoch’s long reaching arm is involved in this whole ghastly affair, I dont know if he really is the influencing force behind this.

Apple tightens rules for iPad news delivery

Money, power, Murdoch
Apple is putting the screws to a handful of European newspapers, no longer
allowing them to provide their paid print subscribers with free access to their
content through downloads into iPad apps. Whether this is the beginning of a
wider crackdown is not yet known.
“Apple verandert de regels terwijl het spel bezig
is,” Gert Ysebaert of the Belgian media group Corelio told De Tijd. If your Dutch is rusty, know that
Ysebaert was expressing a sentiment that has been uttered in many a language:
“Apple is changing the rules while the game is in progress.”
According to Ysebaert and William De Nolf, director
of new media at a second Belgian media group, Roularta, the two reasons that Apple is tightening its control
over their provision of digital content to paid subscribers are ones that are
also understood worldwide: money and power.
De Nolf told De Tijd that Apple is now demanding that all content
subscriptions go through iTunes so that Cupertino can take its traditional 30
per cent cut. Previously, newspapers could simply serve content to subscribers
from their own servers.
In addition. Ysebaert is none too happy that his newspaper will lose its
direct relationships with its customers. Apple, managing the subscriptions, will
control all of those subscribers’ data – the newspapers won’t have access to
their own subscriber lists.
In addition to money and power, Apple may have another reason for tightening
up its rules for news services. In what must be the least well-kept secret in
publishing, Apple and New Corporation are about to launch a subscription-based
iPad news service said to be called The Daily.
Rumors have been swirling that the launch of this
efforts was scheduled for January 19 in San Francisco, at an event hosted by
both Steve Jobs and Rupert Murdoch. Yesterday, however, came word that the rollout had been delayed for “weeks, not
The delay was ostensibly to allow for more time to tweak the billing and
content-pushing technologies that will support the site – but we would not be
surprised to discover that Apple also wanted more time to shut down more
non-iTunes content distribution systems that are currently being conducted by
newspapers – and possibly to toss magazines into the hopper, as well.
So far, no US nor UK newspaper or magazine – that we know of – has had Apple
knock on their door to tell them to obey the new content-distribution
strictures. But there’s no reason to believe that what’s going on in Belgium
won’t spread.
That would be unfortunate. We rather enjoy reading
our weekly news from that The Economist on iPad app. ®